“I long for the Lord more than sentries long for the dawn, yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.”  Psalm 130:6

Desires and longings of the heart are not evil in themselves. In fact, God designed us to have them, and for them to function for His glory. Just like anything God intended for good, the fallen man, highly influenced by the evil one, twists these blessings, turning them into bondage. Are you alert? Are your spiritual senses functioning? Are your boundaries clear when it comes to dealing with your desires?

The deep longings of the heart as expressed by our prayers reveal a lot about us. It reveals who we are inside. Knowing and unveiling our real identity is both a sweet and scary experience. Sweet, when our longings are godly and God-centered. Scary, when they’re selfish and cunningly evil. Nothing in the flesh could ever fulfill the longings of the heart.

Without condemnation or hasty generalizations, I see a lot of disappointed people who toy around with their longings. Like our spiritual gifts, desires are not toys. They’re tools that build our relationship with God and nourish our intimacy with the Almighty. Contrary to the popular Hollywood survey that the macho image is the perfect guy, those who are spiritually deep, whose identity is secured in Christ, are actually the most wonderful persons to their friends, and a most desirable lover to their wife. When our deep longings reveal the Lordship of Christ, we’re blessed to enjoy everything that emanates from God.

The psalmist’s imagery is practical and deep. His longing for the Lord is like a sentry guarding the walls of Jerusalem, and longing for the morning. The night is dark, and in that deep darkness looms a lot of possibilities. Danger can strike anytime—the pressure is unbelievable. Yet, all these horrors are suddenly transformed into a different beauty when the dawn comes—when light shines and darkness is gone. It’s the sentry’s longing for the dawn that describes his longings. We live a life of zero long-term regrets, for it’s in delighting in God that we’re most satisfied, and He is most glorified! Remember, desires and longings are not toys—don’t play with them. Come to your senses and surrender these sharp tools to the Master Carpenter’s hands so they may shape us, rather than trap us.

=== This excerpt is taken from Moments of Grace written by Arnel C. Tan and published by OMF Literature Inc. To get the full devotional in print or digital format, please visit any OMF Lit and Passages Bookshop or go to www.passages.com.ph